Poet and Wife of Declaration Signer Richard Stockton
Annis Boudinot was born July 1, 1736, in Darby, Pennsylvania, to Catherine Williams and Elias Boudinot, merchant and silversmith, who later moved his family to Princeton, New Jersey. She was their eldest daughter and the second of ten children, though the first to be born in North America (her parents had just returned from Antigua where her father had run a plantation).
The Boudinot family settled in Princeton, New Jersey. There Annis was exposed to the intellectual and social circles of the area, and her parents gave her a good education. She became particularly interested in poetry, an unusual pastime for a woman of that time, and published her first poem at age 16: To the Honorable Colonel Peter Schuyler, in the New-York Mercury and New American Magazine.
Young Annis thrived in the town’s stimulating academic atmosphere, and became acquainted with Richard Stockton when her brother, Elias Boudinot, studied law in Richard’s office and married his sister, Hannah Stockton. Elias became a statesman from New Jersey, and was President of the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783, and a signer of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War.
Richard Stockton, eldest son of John and Abigail (Phillips) Stockton, was born October 1, 1730. He was educated in the early years by Reverend Doctor Samuel Finley at Nottingham Academy in Maryland, and then attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), graduating in 1748. He studied law under the honorable David Ogden of Newark, at that time the most eminent lawyer in the colony.
Stockton was admitted to the bar in 1754, to the grade of counselor in 1758, and in 1763 he received the degree of Sergeant-at-Law the highest degree of law attainable. He opened his law practice in Princeton in 1754, and later another in Newark. He was Judge of the Supreme Court and a member of the King’s Council for New Jersey before the Revolution.
Sometime in the late 1750s, Annis Boudinot married Richard Stockton, one of the most eloquent lawyers in the colonies. She was a woman of high character and patriotic spirit, which made her a fitting companion for the man who would soon devote his life to the cause of independence.